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Heinrich Best, Marx or Mosca? An Inquiry into the Foundations of Ideocratic Regimes [Abstract]

In John Higley’s and Michael Burton’s taxonomy of elite settings, ‘ideocratic elites’ are represented by regimes of the Soviet type. These regimes based their rule on an egalitarian ideology that legitimized inequalities as temporary abnormalities. According to Marx the abolition of private ownership of the means of production would ultimately lead to a classless society. Gaetano Mosca questioned this claim and argued that families would maintain and even strengthen their function in producing and reproducing a ‘ruling class’ (tantamount to the elite concept) in communist regimes. The present contribution examines these claims on the basis of GDR’s Central Cadres Database. Comprehensive empirical evidence is provided supporting Mosca’s claim of a persistent impact of families in the formation and reproduction of communist elites.